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DD will only answer closed questions....unusual?

(18 Posts)
Knickersinatwist36 Sun 21-Jun-15 22:37:30

So dd2 is quite verbal (I think) we are waiting for SALT assessment. But doesn't talk much. She is nearly 6 and I can honestly say I have never had what you would call a conversation with her sad
She doesn't like any kind of question or anyone to tell her things. If I do ask an open question I will get one of three responses:
A) "I don't know" - this one all the time to any question (what did you do today at school?/what would you like as a snack?/ what do you like about stampy cat/ Dan TDM videos? Why do we own over 100 skylanders? And pretty much every question ranging from very simple to more complex)
B) stony silence
C) "I do not want to talk about this!"

She is a bit better with closed questions but often answers yes then thinks and says no or vice versa.

Most of the time I don't think she even heard the question (even when I say her name and make sure she is focused on me) or maybe picks up on a couple of key words but I don't know.
I'm finding it really hard to understand how to get through the barrier to find out what - at a basic level - makes her happy. And she won't talk about anything personal to her. I only found out about some bullying (which was sorted quickly by school) when her sister found her in tears and she told her a few words so DD1 could guess what was happening and tell the teachers/us. I don't think I am expressing this well and think it sounds like I am prying into her thoughts but I really get nothing from her and think she would tell me if she knew how.

Has anyone else had this? Is it common? Have you managed to connect with your dc? Feeling very out of my depth and a bit sad.

adrianna22 Sun 21-Jun-15 22:42:28

Hmm OP it could be many things, eg. Language disorder, autism etc. She is definitely not understanding what is being said to her, despite the fact her expressive language is somewhat age appropriate. Definitely let the speech therapist evaluate.

StarlightMcKenzee Sun 21-Jun-15 22:48:42

My DS has been very verbal for some time. He also has severe expressive language disorder.

This means he can talk about things he has rehearsed, using quite substantial variations of stock phrases that mask his inability. He finds it extremely difficult to articulate something novel or abstract. It isn't that he hasn't understood, though to be fair often he hasn't because he's been thinking his own thoughts instead of listening to the question.

If he hasn't listened to the question or simply doesn't know what to reply he'll say 'Hmm, I'm not sure!'. Which is appropriate many times but not when a host says to him 'Did you enjoy the birthday party?'.

adrianna22 Sun 21-Jun-15 22:49:31

Sorry Op just read through the post.

It's not common in neurotypical development, no. Her understanding of language needs to be in par with her expressive language. I definitely think you should get a referral to the speech and language therapist to see her difficulties. Oh! If you google "talking point" should be the first link, and then on then abrogation menu click "real life stories" and click on "Chloe's stories", then scroll down and click on "read full story here". Have a good read at that as it reminds me of your daughters difficulties.

StarlightMcKenzee Sun 21-Jun-15 22:51:07

Sorry OP. I assumed your dd has ASD like my ds.

It has until recently been a frustrating and lonely journey, not being able to have a relationship with my child that I recognised as one.

He is 8 now and has a lot of problems still, but he has improved and matured and he starts to seek reassurance for things so I get clues as to what is bothering him or makes him happy.

shazzarooney99 Sun 21-Jun-15 22:52:29

My son is nearly 8 and its very hard to try and get a conversation out of him,its usually a couple of sentences,never a detailed conversation and if hes not in the mood to talk about what you want youll get nothing at all.

tacal Sun 21-Jun-15 23:01:14

not sure why but I made a lot of progress with DS in the car. We have little chats when I am driving and he has been getting much better at answering questions. I often give him a choice of answers to help him along eg was it a good day or a bad day. I ask him the same questions every day so he now expects them. It is lovely as I now get to know something about his day at school.

shazzarooney99 Sun 21-Jun-15 23:04:07

Tacal ive been asking my son those questions for the last five years and still get closed answers lol,i try to talk to him as much as poss too.

StarlightMcKenzee Sun 21-Jun-15 23:08:23

Yes, modelling a choice of acceptable answers can help.

So: 'What did you like best about the trip? Was it the ride or the ice-cream?

Switch then choices around as a test too, as the answer can often be the last one you give, simply repeated to get you to stop.

It works best in the early days if you ask a question with a likely answer and an unlikely one so 'What did you like best about the trip? Was it the ride or waiting in the queue?

Knickersinatwist36 Sun 21-Jun-15 23:15:19

Hi, sorry jumping in and not sharing background doesn't really help you to help me does it, silly me blush

She was referred to camhs by school and they said it wasn't a mental health issue but she needed to be seen by a paed.
Lovely community paed said def SPD and 'ticks lots of boxes for ASD' but dx is now multi discipline so we are on the 900 year waiting list for OT and SALT. The more I read the more I believe she has asd. School getting more and more challenging for her socially - I don't know about academically as she point blank refuses to read or write at home - she can do her name on a card if forced school are lovely but say no LD. This could well be true but all part of the conversation/ social thing I can't get her to engage so dint know where she is at so can't help her if she is having problems.
Thank you, it is good to know that things might improve in the future as she matures a bit. Very occasionally as she is going to sleep (care of our new best friend melatonin) she will say something about her day but if you respond in ANY way she shuts it down. I just say 'ok' now but feel crap for not 'talking it through' as I would with dd1.
Thank you for response star

shazzarooney99 Sun 21-Jun-15 23:31:17

Ive tried that its just the same,you can ask as many multi questions as you like you dont get a full conversation xx

blankblink Mon 22-Jun-15 11:44:29

At that age dd (now adult) didn't have the ability to formulate a complex answer, often answers were single words, still are in times of high stress.

If given a 'Is it because of X' question, she'd always fixate on X and say it was that, even though I knew that wasn't right, she'd rigidly answer that X was it. Basically that behaviour stops all the questions because they are too hard to process and answer.

Perhaps alter the way you interact, talking's so difficult, or rather expressing their feelings, emotions and thoughts in words is so difficult for some kids, use your observational skills, let her know she can tell you things when she wants to, rather than her feeling under pressure by the Inquisition to explain herself at every turn when she simply can't.

I found TV soaps, which were and still are a fixation 'thing' for her, were excellent for teaching about peoples' reactions to events and treatment by other people, they are very simplistic in their formulation but give a great background to discuss the sort of things you eventually want to. They are also a step removed from talking about things that happen to ones self, but give a good overview like look at Fred, what sort of a day has he had, did you hear what Alan said about him, would that make Fred feel sad? that sort of thing. But not too many questions all in one go smile

mumsuz Mon 22-Jun-15 12:11:16

Hi knickers - just wanted to say that I understand how you feel. My dd really struggles with exactly the kind of questioning you describe. Functionally she can get by but reciprocal conversations are just very hard for her and there is lots of "I don't know". Her new one is "I can't tell you".

My dd now has an ASD diagnosis. She is loving and warm but just really really cannot cope with the kind of "usual" conversations that I can have all the time with her younger sibling.

I do get sad sometimes but a couple of things that made it a bit easier for me: I found that asking lots of questions all at once really doesn't help and I am sure that she can sense my frustration which makes her shut down more. So, after school for example, (when I really wanted to talk about her day) I now just let her "be" which is a relief for both of us. She is much more likely to talk (even if it is sometimes very muddled and on her own terms) if she is not feeling the pressure. Last week she had a school trip and I didn't ask any questions about it - that evening she did at least tell me, of her own volition, who had been sick on the coach! Modelling with choices, as suggested by Starlight, can also be a big help if she is feeling like interacting.

My dd definitely has learning issues and is very stubborn but we manage to get her to do some reading/writing with lots of positive motivation - stickers, time to play, letting her give herself ticks etc.

Good luck with everything.

TeenAndTween Mon 22-Jun-15 15:55:52

My DD does this, she's 16. sad Slow processing & dyspraxia.

'I don't know' is almost a reflex response,
or when asked 'what was your best ...' we almost always get 'All of it'.

I've learned instead to ask 'tell me one thing you enjoyed ...' which gets a better response (and actually is what you want to know most of the time).

Knickersinatwist36 Tue 23-Jun-15 10:47:12

Thank you everyone. I am going to try the "did you like this.... or that... most?" question as she would probably be more receptive to a choice that I have given her (but easy to begin with so the answer is obvious).
TBH it is good to know she isn't the only one and this is not an unexpected bit of the communication disorder.
Just trying to be a bit gentle with her at the moment as I understood zero of this before.

Anomia10 Sun 28-Jun-15 22:00:59

I thought it was common for children with language difficulties to find open questions difficult? They can't put the ideas together as to what choices are open to them - if you don't know what the choices are, its like a black hole in front of you, and its scary?

IME, its better to ask closed questions, with no more than three choices. My dd would still cry if given a choice of say 6 activities in her teens (and those supported by photographs).

Questions like "What do you like about stampy cat?" are quite conceptual, which they also struggle with. Its better to stick to concrete language, like giving a choice of three snacks, and put the three choices of front of her, so she has visual support for the question - until you get the SALT report and find out, what language difficulties she has, if any.

Finally, these children often struggle with time - they don't have a coherent time line in their heads, as to when things happened. So, often me and my friends found that our children would remember an event that happened at school after something else triggered the memory, although they could not tell us when it happened - it could have been three weeks ago. Home-school books are useful, where the staff write in any incidents you might need to know about (and you can write questions back), for those children who can't tell us what happened in the day at school, but you might need the SALT report and possibly an EHC plan to get the school to agree to that?

FunnyHowThingsWorkOut Sun 28-Jun-15 23:10:33

I'm finding this thread so useful. My son (10, probable ASD) is very uncommunicative except about his chosen subjects. Quizzing him bears no fruit, especially if it is about how he feels or a difficult situation. I have had advice on here to give him more space. It is hard but he cannot tell me. I'm interested to learn about expressive language disorder and will look into that. I have also found out about alixothymia (sp?) which seems to apply.

However, if we are in a situation where I am just making chit chat with his sister, say, I will ask him a closed question (like, 'Did you also have cake for pudding at school?') as that seems to give him more opportunity to join in.

nellieellie Sun 05-Jul-15 15:54:44

Sounds like my DS. Used to get in trouble in yr1 for hitting out. Would refuse to explain himself, and teachers took his closed posture, head down as embarrassment and acknowledgement he was in the wrong. After one incident I noticed under his longish hair, a deep scratch down his face, obviously drawn blood. Still refused to tell me what had happened. In the end, I asked him to act it out with me as the other boy. The boy had scratched his face, he had pushed him away onto the ground, boy reported him to teacher. DS refusing to explain himself. After school move and assessments he has been diagnosed with word retrieval problems, processing issues, sequencing issues. Finding the right word and then trying to put them together in a sequence can be too much especially if situation is stressful. I found that a recent (DS is now 9) educational psychologist assessment was v useful, tho had to pay it myself. Language therapy not too useful as never translated to situations outside the sessions. Oh, after starting the dietary supplement DMG, I asked him what he did at school one day.....and he actually told me! I was gobsmacked. Using prompts does help. If there is any way you can get feedback from your child's teacher as to what is going on, then it is easier to ask a specific question about particular sessions that day, eg what was maths like? I agree that quizzing your child about the day can make them close up more, but a few casual qs can open things up too.

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